One of the first feelings I have when something goes wrong, I mean really wrong, is embarrassment. Not despair, not worry, not panic. No, it’s “how embarrassing”. How embarrassing to try and do something crazy and then have something go wrong. I can already hear all the comfort zoners adding another reason to their list about why they would never go on a solo trip through Central America and Mexico. The people who warned me about danger are going to be using my story/experience as a cautionary tale for the next young daring femme who wants to go on a solo journey. Too bad for them my experience turned out much more good than bad.
I wish people would understand two things about when something goes wrong. First of all, you’re doing something outside of your comfort zone, if you didn’t have something go wrong did you really ever leave? Secondly, the moment I tell my mother or my sister or friends about my experiences, especially those involving having my debit card getting cloned or my phone stolen, I want them to know that I am proud of these stories because they’re about how I made it through with skill and smarts, they’re about the wonderful people who helped me with the situation, and most importantly about the deep strength I found within myself when I got to realize that the most important thing is that I am alive. You know how often you get to experience that? Isn’t that the reason for leaving your comfort zone in the first place? If you don’t have at least one moment where you develop a Jesus-like appreciation for the fact that, shit I am alive, and there are nice human beings helping me out, and this is the actual best worst case scenario, then what are you really doing.
So yes, I left my phone in an Uber on my first night out in Mexico City. I went to a salsa night advertised on the couchsurfing app, met someone there from Trinidad and we decided to go to another bar, with Mexican trap music.It wasn’t until an hour or two at this other bar that I realized my phone was nowhere to be found. Did I panic? Yes, I was crying in front of a stranger I had just met. Did I worry? Yes, I thought about how I was going to get around without google maps and google translate. Did I despair? Yes, I was in a random bar at 1am in Mexico City with no phone after the metro had closed. Most of all, though, my initial thoughts were, how did I fail at this so quickly. It wasn’t until the nice stranger whose name is Kevon helped me out immensely, offered to take me to buy a new phone the next morning, and more that I started to realize it was actually going to be ok. I don’t need to be embarrassed. Because as my mom used to say whenever I climbed up a tree too high (yeah I had that kind of childhood), if I got myself into this situation I can get myself out. It ended up even better than that because after finding my Mexican number online I called my phone and someone answered! They said they had found my phone in an Uber and were trying return it. They told me where to meet them to get my phone. Within 24 hours I was reunited with my phone and still ever more grateful for life.
“How lucky”, some people said when I told them I found it. Before that, some people had said how awful, Mexico City is really dangerous. So I’m wondering am I lucky or could it be that Mexico City also filled with equally as many people who would return a found phone as those who would might steal it? I’d like to add this story to the list of reasons why, yes, you should visit Mexico City if it’s on your heart. Yes, you should go on a trip by yourself. Yes, you will experience both good and bad. Yes, you will be a stronger person for it.